His boss, by the way, is the spitting image of Tim Allen's wife Jill on Home Improvement. Same haircut, face, voice, everything. I get a little starstruck whenever I'm around her. I'm always so tempted to ask if she knows how Jonathan Taylor Thomas is fairing these days, and do you think he'd be interested in joining my book club?
It was hotter than Satan's oven outside, and I was reluctant to venture outdoors as I believe summer is best experienced from inside an air-conditioned building. James signed us up to bring a side dish, so I whipped up a pasta salad. Once we arrived, I handed the pasta salad to James and pushed the stroller, because while I wasn't as nervous as last time, I still needed what I like to call "The Baby Barrier." There was very little shade and zero available seating and I almost turned around and walked back to the car. We put the pasta salad down on the table of side dishes, which just so happened to be full of pasta salads. It felt a lot like that scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark brings his boss a Christmas gift, just to set it down on a table full of identical presents.
I planted myself on a bench at the dessert table since it was the only spot I could find, and I felt it necessary to be close to the chocolate. James held Gracie's hands and walked her around, showing her off to his coworkers like the proud dad he is. I sat there, munching on watermelon, trying to avoid eye contact with people, when a young gentleman walked up and asked someone to take a picture of his family. Everyone was ignoring him, he kept asking, and I felt bad for him. He was wearing a charcoal grey shirt, the same color of the company shirt some of the employees were wearing. I just assumed he was one of them. I finally piped up and offered to take the pictures. He was so thankful and asked me to follow him.
I started to walk after him until I noticed he was walking far away from the picnic. I panicked. I turned around to see James staring at me, and I mouthed "HELP ME PLEASE HELP ME" until he took off after us. I don't know what I would've done if he hadn't seen me walk away; the only thing deeper than my fear of being kidnapped/murdered is my fear of confrontation. Apparently. I didn't know that until this moment.
We trudged through grass and playgrounds until we came upon another shelter. Turns out, the guy was legit and he just wanted a picture of a family reunion. Once again, I narrowly avoided being turned into a Lifetime movie. I was handed a handful of cameras and iPhones by people yelling at great aunt Doreen to go stand with everyone else, and I started the photo shoot. Before I knew what was happening, the spirit of Jerry Seinfeld came over me, and I was cracking jokes and making them all laugh. Usually my mind goes blank when put on the spot, but every once in awhile I unintentionally channel my nervous energy into cracking jokes and one-liners. It surprises me every time. It happened for the first time in college. I was handed a microphone on the spot and asked to tell hundreds of people about a missions trip I took to Mexico. Jokes were flying out of my mouth left and right and much to my shock, everyone was laughing. Hopefully at the jokes and not at me. I sat back down ten minutes later. James and I were freshly dating, and he just shook his head and said he had no idea I had it in me. Neither did I, dude. Neither did I.
I finished taking pictures and handed the cameras and phones back to their rightful owners. Everyone was calling me "dear" and "darling" and telling me how much they appreciated me. I'm not sure, but there's a chance they adopted me into their family. I loved them. I wanted to stay and party with them and great aunt Doreen instead of going back to the company picnic, but I made my way back anyway. My shyness had completely dissipated after meeting my new family. I grabbed a plate of food while James held Gracie and introduced me to a coworker. She took one look at me and said "So when will you guys be trying for number two? I think it's time you guys start trying for number two." I wasn't even the tiniest bit surprised since two years ago a man asked us when we would be having kids just seconds after shaking my hand and introducing himself. At the time, I was in no mood to be asked about my reproductive plans and emphatically told him that we would not be having kids, just to be obnoxious. It's worth nothing that I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test only a few weeks later. Apparently old habits die hard, because I told the woman asking about #2 that there was not going to be a number two, despite the fact that I've almost warmed up to the idea. This time, James told her that I'm still recovering from my first pregnancy. It's nice that he works for a company so concerned about our reproduction.
I went back to my camp at the dessert table and fed Gracie water and watermelon in an attempt to ward off heat exhaustion. We were both withering. The closest I came to relief from the raging heat was winning a cooler in the raffle (the Ohio State one behind me in the picture!). I had been eyeing it the whole time, thinking how perfect it would be for picnics and road trips and how I'd like to put ice packs in it and then crawl inside. I was not made for life above 80 degrees.
We went to church Sunday morning, and nearly everyone sitting around us had a newborn baby girl. I couldn't stop staring. I've never been one for baby fever, but the lady asking about baby #2 kept floating through my mind. Even though I've done the around-the-clock nursing and been up all night with a screaming baby, I found my mind going to forbidden places. And then Gracie fought her nap for two hours, and suddenly it all vanished quicker than my self-control in a bookstore. Which is good, because I imagine it's easier to pursue a job of Family Reunion Photographer with only one kid.